by Rev Jason Phua
Bible Readings: Jeremiah 49:23-50:46; Proverbs 26:13-16
READ (Verse chosen for reflection)
Jeremiah 50:17-18 “Israel is a hunted sheep driven away by lions. First the king of Assyria devoured him, and now at last Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon has gnawed his bones. Therefore, thus says the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel: Behold, I am bringing punishment on the king of Babylon and his land, as I punished the king of Assyria.”
From the earlier chapters in Jeremiah (especially chapter 27), we understand that God was using Babylon as His instrument to punish Israel. God even called Babylon His “servant”. In that sense, why would God punish Babylon for hurting Israel? Was it “fair” of God to do so? We learnt from the book of Isaiah (chapter 47) as well as other books in the Old Testament that Babylon was a wicked nation. For her wickedness, Babylon shall also be punished. God therefore in His sovereignty, used a wicked nation to punish another for the purpose that both nations will repent of their evil deeds.
In this day and age, will God use “wicked nations” to bring His people into repentance? I believe so. However, I am not so sure if we can categorise any nations as “wicked” these days, even the nation which consistently threaten to use its nuclear warheads. Rather, I believe God can and will use unrighteous leaders of nations to fulfil His purpose. God is sovereign and all belongs to Him. So He can definitely use whoever He wants to do His will. Yet, the wicked, even if they are being used by God to fulfil His will, they will not be spared.
What we need to remember is that God’s purpose is always about bringing forth His glory and for us to grow in righteousness. Hence, even if we should face persecutions or discipline by “wicked” nations or people in our lives; may we be humble and repent if need be. May we also be steadfast in our relationship with God and continue to be faithful.
Lord our God, may You give us the grace to be steadfast; even on days when the “wicked” seems to prevail and even being used by You to discipline us. We know that at the end of the day, You do what is best for us. Amen.